Film Review: The Hunger Games Mockingjay – Part 1

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1

The Hunger Games – Mockingjay – Part 1 picks up from the action of its predecessor The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. The film has some tense moments, although it suffers slightly in being the instalment before the finale.

After shattering the Hunger Games, Katniss is asked to become the face of the movement against the Capitol. As she fights to save a nation, she also worries for the fate of the separated Peeta…

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 shifts the form of the previous two films. There are no games in this instalment; with action instead progressing to the burgeoning revolution. The latest film does miss this centre spectacle, as action has less of the intensity of the previous chapters.

Mockingjay – Part 1 swaps the focal point of the games for political posturing and a cat and mouse set up. The emphasis on presentation and promotion is the most interesting tact. Director Francis Lawrence’s film draws parallels with real politics in depicting how the opposing sides attempt to sell themselves. Viewers are posited with Katniss, as she struggles to remain the public face of the movement despite disruption in her private sphere.

The previous instalments of The Hunger Games have prided themselves on their depiction of a dystopian world, and this film is no different. Any veiled intentions in previous chapters are writ large here, with the true nature of what Katniss is up against being exhibited clearly. The film is darker in both its aesthetics and its tone, with a shift from survival to war and strategy.

Action sequences in the film work well. The film does lack a strong climax, as is often the case with pre-finale instalments. Art direction offers a decaying look which suits the film’s tone. Julianne Moore is a good addition to the cast. Jennifer Lawrence is as impassioned as ever, while Elizabeth Banks gets to show more range.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 does what it is supposed to in progressing the plot and setting up for a finale. The final part of this film series should be blistering.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 is released on DVD and Blu-Ray from 16th March 2015.

Film Review: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Like many middle films of a series, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire lacks any real resolution. Nevertheless, it is a very entertaining film.

Following their triumph at the Hunger Games tournament, Katniss and Peeta must keep up the pretence of their relationship to protect their families. When their public appearances spark trouble in the districts, the Capitol is determined to take revenge…

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire features a good mix of action, drama and tension. With the way that the plot unfolds, the film could have become a rehash of its predecessor. Thankfully Catching Fire eschews this, offering a fresh take on proceedings.

The set up of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire works well. The film replicates the tension of the first film. However, it also delivers a progression of the narrative. In some ways, it does feel very much like a middle film. Plans are dropped in place that will no doubt materialise in the next instalment. The events in the film are of course important to the overall narrative arc, but Catching Fire lacks the driving force to make it feel like a stand-alone movie. The ending is a little abrupt; it is very much a cliff-hanger to ensure viewers are eager to return for the next part.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire continues from the first film in depicting a highly-stylised dystopian world. Like most decent films of this ilk, the dystopia in Catching Fire is not too far removed from the real world as to be unrecognisable. Costumes in the film are excellent, and special effects are also good.

Jennifer Lawrence delivers a strong performance as Katniss. Stanley Tucci is a lot of fun, while Woody Harrelson and Elizabeth Banks reprise their roles with a good energy.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is a decent follow up to The Hunger Games. The next two instalments should over the resolution that this film lacks.

Stuff To Look At

Plenty of film-related goodness this week, with the new Frozen poster, trailers for Seventh Son and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and more…

Frozen

Frozen poster

Here is the new Frozen poster, Disney’s upcoming animated feature. It really does not give too much away. Frozen centres on Anna, who sets off on an epic journey to find her sister. Frozen is set for release in the UK on 6th December 2013.

Seventh Son

From the first few seconds of this trailer, I could tell that I’m going to love Julianne Moore’s character in this film. Seventh Son is a fantasy action about a war between mankind and supernatural forces. The film is set for release in February 2014.

Mr Peabody & Sherman

Mr Peabody & Sherman poster

There’s an upcoming film featuring a talking dog and I wasn’t aware? Sacre bleu! Mr Peabody & Sherman is a comedy adventure about a dog and his ‘pet’ boy. This alone makes it a must-see film. Mr Peabody & Sherman is due to be released in 2014.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

The Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire is being released later this year. The trailer promises more brutality. The film follows on from the events of the first instalment. The final part is surely not too far away. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire will be released in UK cinemas on 21st November 2013.

Saving Mr Banks

Saving Mr Banks poster

Who is Mr Banks and why does he need to be saved? Well this poster does not reveal this, although I love the shadows cast in it. Saving Mr Banks tells the story of how Mary Poppins made it to the screen. Starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson, Saving Mr Banks is due for release later this year.

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom

Celebrating his 95th birthday last week, it seems apt that a biopic is soon due for release. Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom stars Idris Elba as Nelson Mandela and Naomie Harris as his wife Winnie. The film will be released in UK cinemas on 3rd January 2014.

Filth

Here is the latest trailer for Filth, which promises to be so much ruder than the trailer will allow. Based on Irvine Welsh’s novel, Filth is released in Scotland on 27th September and the rest of the UK on 4th October 2013.

Stuff To Look At

Well-known characters dominate this week’s round-up…

Thor: The Dark World

Thor: The Dark World

Just before Iron Man 3 hits cinema screens, the first poster for Thor: The Dark World has been revealed. The film reunites Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins and Natalie Portman. Thor: The Dark World is due for release on 30th October 2013.

Man of Steel

Here is the latest trailer for Man of Steel, one of the most anticipated movies of the summer. Can writers David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan once again weave their magic in a re-telling of DC Comics legend? We will see when the Zack Snyder-directed Man of Steel is released on 14th June 2013.

The Great Gatsby

The soundtrack has been one of the most talked about aspects of The Great Gatsby. Above is a sampler of some of the tracks used in the film. A mixture of covers of well-known songs and samples music from the era the film is set. What else would to expect from Baz Luhrmann? The Great Gatsby is released on 16th May 2013.

The Lone Ranger

Here is the latest trailer for The Lone Ranger. Despite being the sidekick to the title character, it looks as if Johnny Depp’s Tonto may steal the show. The Lone Ranger hits UK screens on 9th August 2013.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

The second instalment in The Hunger Games trilogy has a first trailer. Catching Fire has a lot to live up to after the huge success of last year’s The Hunger Games. Jennifer Lawrence reprises her role in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which is due for release on 22nd November 2013.

R.I.P.D.

A new action fantasy, R.I.P.D. looks like it could be a lot of fun. The film stars Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges as two undead cops tasked with protecting the world from those who refuse to move to the other side. R.I.P.D. hits UK cinemas on 30th August 2013.